WINNIPEG – A seven-year-old girl was killed by a pair of Alaskan malamutes in the rural municipality of Springfield on Sunday.
The young student at St. Andrews school was identified by a neighbour Monday as Gracie Herntier-Clark. Her picture appeared on the Facebook page of a family member. The page quickly filled up with tributes and condolences.
The girl from the rural municipality St. Andrews was mauled by the dogs, which she knew, just before 3:30 p.m., RCMP said.
“(Officers) found a seven-year-old girl with severe injuries and two Alaskan malamutes; the seven-year-old girl was rushed to Winnipeg hospital where she was unfortunately pronounced deceased,” said RCMP spokesperson Tara Seel. “The dogs were locked up when members arrived on scene, the owners had already done that.”
The two dogs, Shadow and Bear, were seized and are being held by the RM of Springfield animal control department. The animals were about three years old.
Kristin Nicholson lives next door and was familiar with the dogs.
“They were very playful,” said Nicholson. “I never would’ve thought that something like that would go on.”
Diane Tracy, president of the Working Alaskan Malamute Club of Manitoba, said she was shocked to hear of the tragedy. Such violence is out of character for that breed of dog, she said.
“They love people most of the time. They are very family oriented. They are happy to be couch potatoes with you and yet can live outside and be quite comfortable there too,” Tracy said. “They’re not normally a dog that could be aggressive. If properly trained, they are not an aggressive dog.”
Neighbours said the little girl was with her grandparents visiting family friends, and that she was there regularly,
The girl was being supervised but no one witnessed the dog attack, police said.
The RM of Springfield is the rural area immediately east of Winnipeg.